Changes in pulmonary mechanics and gas exchange following thoracocentesis

Chest. 1978 Nov;74(5):540-2. doi: 10.1378/chest.74.5.540.


In nine patients with large pleural effusions, we studied the changes in pulmonary mechanics and gas exchange that occurred in the first three hours following removal of 600 to 1,800 ml of fluid by thoracocentesis. There was a small but significant increase in the functional residual capacity and total lung capacity but no change in residual volume and vital capacity. Calculated pulmonary shunt fraction did not change. We could not relate the subjective improvements noted by patients after thoracocentesis to the changes in pulmonary volumes or blood gas levels.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood*
  • Drainage*
  • Female
  • Functional Residual Capacity
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung Volume Measurements
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Pleural Effusion / blood
  • Pleural Effusion / surgery*
  • Punctures*
  • Residual Volume
  • Spirometry
  • Thorax*


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen